The Diamondbacks Should Use Two Platoons in the Outfield
By Joseph Jacquez
In today’s game pitching dominates, and scoring runs is hander to come than ever. Knowing this, a team should do whatever it takes to score more runs, especially when the Diamondbacks team era was 4.26, which ranked 26th in all of baseball.
I have one idea that I discovered while reading an article from InsidetheZona about David Peralta’s ridiculous splits against righties and lefties.
It got me thinking, would a double platoon work for the Snakes OF in 2015? As I have documented in the past, the Dbacks have a crowded outfield situation.
A.J. Pollock is a lock to start in center-field, but after that four guys (Ross, Trumbo, Peralta, and Inciarte), and possibly five if Yasmany Tomas doesn’t work out at third will be competing for two spots.
This scenario that I’m about to propose assumes that Tomas does play third. According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Tomas has been working hard at third while trying get all the paperwork official so he can come to Arizona, and G.M. Dave Stewart says that he is doing well. So there is a good chance he could play at the hot corner.
So with Tomas playing third, Ross, Trumbo, Peralta, and Inciarte will compete for the other two outfield spots. Keep in mind that Inciarte can also back up Pollock in center. Here is my idea: two platoon splits of Trumbo/Inciarte, and Peralta/Ross.
Ross made the outfield situation complicated in 2014, and Trumbo makes it complicated this year.
Stewart is really high on Trumbo and wants him starting in RF, and hitting in the middle of the lineup, but it might be easier to platoon, and as a result score more runs.
Frankly I don’t care about an individual players stats, if new manager Chip Hale is using each OF’s strength to the team’s advantage, and in turn win more games. After all, this is what the first year skipper told the media during the Winter Meetings in December:
“With the people we have, we have Trumbo in right, we’ll move him over to right where he’s more comfortable. That’s where he played with Anaheim. He feels a lot better over there. Pollock in center, and then a combination of Inciarte and Peralta in left field with Cody Ross kind of backing up over there, sort of a platoon thing. So for me, we’re really deep in the outfield.”
When a team has a crowded outfield they can either trade one (Dodgers), platoon, or one or more players would get significantly less playing time, which reportedly angered many Dbacks veterans last year.
With that in mind, when I looked at the split numbers on the Dbacks outfielders, it backs up the idea of having multiple platoons. First I will take a look at traditional numbers, and then I will look at advanced stats for each outfielder.
Ross still has value to the Diamondbacks because he mashes left-handed pitching, which is important to have.
First let’s take a look at Ross’s triple slash line of batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage against righties and lefties for his career and for the 2014 season.
vs. RHP: .250/.308/.403
vs. LHP: .294/.360/.567
Thats a considerable difference. Any time Hale gets the chance to start him against a left-hander he should.
His 2014 splits against lefties weren’t as drastic, but he was injured most of the year and didn’t play often, so those numbers can be misleading.
Now let’s take a look at some advanced metrics for his career:
vs. RHP: 6.7 BB%, 22.9 K%, .711 OPS, .152 ISO, .311 wOBA, and a 89 wRC+
vs. LHP: 8.9 BB%, 16.3 K%, .916 OPS, .263 ISO, .389 wOBA, and a 141 wRC+
Clearly he is way better against lefties. He walks more and strikes out less against southpaws and his OPS (on base % + slugging %) is 200 points higher. His wRC+ against lefties is 41 points above league average.
Trumbo didn’t have a great year in 2014, and part of that had to do with him being injured for most of the season. Over a full season he can be an impact bat in the middle of the order, as he proved during his time in Anahiem, but he strikes out a lot and he has a hard time getting on base.
Let’s take a look at his career splits with his triple slash line:
vs. RHP: .242/.294/.442
vs. LHP: .261/.308/.506
Not a considerable difference, but Trumbo is better for his career against lefties.
vs. RHP: 6.5 BB%, 24.7 K%, .736 OPS, .200 ISO, .317 wOBA, .102 wRC+
vs. LHP: 6.4 BB%, 25.7 K%, .814 OPS, .245 ISO, .347, 123 wRC+
He actually k’s more and walks less against lefties but his OPS, ISO, and wOBA are all higher against lefties. His splits are pretty balanced so you could start him against righties as well, but he is going to give you more against lefties. Like Ross, it’s hard to look at his 2014 numbers because of his health issues.
Inciarte really broke out at the plate in September, and his defense makes him that much more valuable, He should factor in to the equation in 2015. Being that last year was his first season, we will look at last season’s splits.
vs RHP: .279/.315/.376
vs. LHP: .273/.326/.320
Inciarte actually had success against both righties and lefties in 2014, and if he can keep performing at that clip, he would be an ideal leadoff hitter. His slugging % was higher against righties, but his OBP was higher against lefties. I think he can be used against both right-handers, and southpaws.
vs. RHP: 4.9 BB%, 12.7 K%, .691 OPS, .097 ISO, .307 wOBA, 90 wRC+
vs. LHP: 7.1 BB%, 10.0 K%, 646 OPS, .047 ISO, .293 wOBA, 80 wRC+
He actually walked more and struck out less against lefties, but his OPS was about 50 points higher against RHP. Again his splits are pretty even, so I think he be used against both. As you can see, his ISO or isolated power is very low against both.
Peralta broke on to the scene last year, but as your about to see his splits are the most drastic among any outfielder.
vs. RHP: .312/.342/.506
vs. LHP: .197/.247/.263
Basically don’t bat Peralta against a LHP, and he should usually bat against right-handed pitching. It’s that simple.
vs. RHP: 4.5 BB%, 14.5 K%, .848 OPS, .194 ISO, .369 wOBA, 132 wRC+
vs. LHP: 4.9 BB% 25.9 K%, .510 OPS, .066 ISO, .232 wOBA, 32 wRC+
Look at his wRC+. It’s 100 points higher against righties. Again don’t bat him against righties.
Distributing Playing Time:
So here is how I would do it:
Trumbo/Peralta split in RF with Peralta getting the majority of at bats against righties.
Ross/Inciarte split with Ross getting the majority of at bats against lefties.
Trumbo/Inciarte and Ross/Peralta could work better.